Thursday Afternoon Tidbits

Some quick points for today:

1. Social Media PR Campaigns

I mentioned elsewhere that many people – perhaps even a majority – are engaged in a constant social media PR campaign.

By this, I mean that folks take a strong interest in appearances on social media. They will post things that make them look like good, moral people (without regard to actually being good, moral people), or post things that make them look rich, interesting, trendy, whatever (again, without regard to actually being any of those things). This may very well make up a majority of social media posts, outside political arguments and cat memes.

Now, folks have always signaled status and virtue, since the dawn of time. So by itself, this concept is not new. What social media has brought to the table is a sort of marketing and PR angle to it. It’s like every individual has a miniature marketing and advertising campaign running. Constant pictures, link shares, and quick tidbits become advertisements of one’s value. Facebook is like “free” ad space for your personal PR campaigns. Instagram, of course, is even more dedicated to this. All social media platforms have shades of this, though at least on Facebook, we spend some of the time hating each other for various political positions, or posting stupid (but oddly addicting) memes.

There is a gradient between this activity, and the so-called social media “influencers”, whose personal PR campaigns have succeeded to sufficient degree that they can be monetized. They are those who appear most moral, or most trendy, or most interesting, rich, whatever…

…but still irrespective of actual morality, trend awareness, uniqueness, and wealth.

Pretending to be something you are not is so much easier on social media than it was in the past. But the competition is fierce.

2. Trump and Collusion – Nobody Knows Shit

Pardon my bluntness, but it’s true. Something like half the political conversations I overhear or see on social media invariably sink into the pit of Russian collusion and Donald Trump. By itself, this wouldn’t bother me. Yes, it’s stupid and probably completely fictional, but it’s conversation material.

What is annoying is everyone involved pretending they understand even a minute fraction of the legal wrangling and political bullshit surrounding it. A Leftist will say that some dossier is going to lead to an indictment, which will in turn force Trump to testify or be interviewed by such and such. Whatever. These are armchair lawyers who know nothing about any of this. They just repeat mainstream media talking points and fantasize about Trump getting impeached and Hillary Clinton somehow being installed as Empress, starting a dynasty of female Clintons ruling the world until the end of time. Or something vaguely like that, anyway.

It’s all fanciful bullshit. Nobody understands what’s going on. Not even, I suspect, a great many of the people who are involved in it in one way or another. This is a problem with any investigation or witch hunt (whichever you prefer) that happens at the federal level. It soon becomes a bureaucratic brier patch that nobody can navigate or understand. It’s a mess.

Many Rightists have taken to arguing with the Lefties in the same manner, saying that such and such document really says some other thing, and their legal interpretation is wrong, and Mueller is… well, some damned thing. I’m not much of a fan of this method, either.

I will be clear: I don’t think there was any collusion. I think the Left is using this narrative to distract from the fact that they colluded with pretty much everybody on Earth who would give them some campaign support, and is using this to try and limit the reach of Trump’s administration by tying them up in endless red tape. But I have no specific legal or technical arguments around this. I base this on the general hostility of the media, and the fact that most people involved have a track record of being corrupt liars.

Most of the people arguing this case don’t know any more than I do, but couch their arguments in legalese to appear like they do. It’s rhetoric pretending to be dialectic.

3. Facebook’s Stock Dump

I’ve been waiting for a long time to see Facebook suffer some consequences for their behavior. Zuckerberg appears to be in a world of hurt, insofar as a billionaire can possibly be said to be “hurting.” Facebook, like many social media outlets, has engaged in a stealth campaign against Rightists. Or, perhaps more accurately, has engaged in a stealth campaign to support Leftists.

I’ve spoken at length about the double standard before, and have witnessed it in person, and seen it well documented by others. But always, Facebook retains an air of plausible deniability. At first, they claim it’s an accident, or that there are no double standards. When the truth is discovered, they retreat to “individual employees did it.”

We all know this is horseshit. But for the longest time Facebook suffered no real penalty for it. Leftists control the establishment in the West, and their money can cover for a great many flaws, but not forever. It seems they may be reaching the limits of their pocketbooks. George Soros himself has said as much in recent days. Mark Zuckerberg’s troubles may be a bit of confirmation of the same.

Site Upgrade & Comments Fix

It has come to my attention that the comments have been partially broken for some users. It is inconsistent. Not all users have problems. Those that do often have different problems. Tracking down the reason behind this has been troublesome, so I have made some major changes in terms of the plugins, theme, and anti-spam defense used at The Declination. If you’ve had problems before, please attempt to comment on this post. If you get an error, please use the contact form to inform me of the error you are getting.

If this does not work, I will be shifting the comments to Disqus, since this site gets an extreme number of spam attacks on a regular basis. I cannot possibly run it without a workable spam defense.

Easy Rhetoric is Easy

Surfing around Instagram, you will find a large number of scantily-clad women travelling the world petting cute little animals, talking about “body positivity” and posing provocatively, generally with the juicy bits only barely covered enough to avoid attracting the attention of the censors. Invariably, every cause spouted by these Instagram ladies is boilerplate Leftism. Save the whales, maybe, or fat is beautiful, or white men are vaguely shitty and probably shouldn’t even exist. Also, Christianity is crap, and Atheism is morally superior to the zombie sky wizard.

Now, we roll our eyes at this and go about our business. Why, after all, should we worry excessively about near-porn fusing with idiotic Leftism?

Truthfully, this is a massive problem. Leftism is seen, even by most Rightists, as the default position. It’s the ‘no thinking required’ setting. If you want to spout some kind of philosophical nonsense to make yourself look smart and cultured while your boob is falling out, you do Leftism. It’s easy rhetoric. Hey look, there’s a man with no fish. Saying “somebody should give him a fish, look he’s starving” is the easy rhetorical answer. Defeating this argument is simple with dialectic, but few people care about dialectic. It’s boring. Nerdy. Too many words. Better to just call somebody a bigot and move on.

Defeating Leftism with rhetoric is much more difficult. For not only must you use a convincing argument, that argument must be truthful and honest. The Leftist may use deceit without remorse, because to him the end justifies the means. You may not. Furthermore, Leftism itself is tailored toward sounding good. Rightism is full of unpleasant truths about human nature and the how things work in the real world. People don’t like to hear these things. Only when it comes to money does Rightism have a rhetorical advantage. Even the most ardent Leftist feels the pinch of the tax man.

This means superficial Instagram would-be porn stars are going to spout Leftism. It requires minimal intellectual investment. And in order to please these attention-seekers, hordes of thirsty men will likewise spout Leftism. After all, they want some of that boob that’s falling out. Sure, baby, climate change is a horrible tragedy. Want some dick? This effect is amplified by the constant Leftism spouted both blatantly and subtly by the media and entertainment establishments. Remember V for Vendetta? Or the Handmaid’s Tale? These are the caricatures bandied about by the establishment. You can have semi-nude Instagram girls, or you can have some kind of twisted theocratic dictatorship. Framed that way, who would choose the latter?

Delusional rhetoric is the centerpiece of Leftist thought. These people believe – or at least act like they believe – that we live in the most oppressive, terrible society ever, when it is far closer to the exact opposite. If a more tolerant society has existed, it certainly wasn’t for very long. Usually tolerance at the level we’re at today results in societal collapse – indeed, it may be heading that way now. But either way the point is, the oppression they crave, the oppression they rant about (not the contradiction it first seems) does not exist.

Bend over and let your thong bikini ride between your ass cheeks, snap a picture, and rant about how Trump is a racist… and you are rewarded with thousands of followers, likes, and comments mentioning “goddess.” Which, as a side note, has become something of an irritant to me. As a man, I don’t expect to be referred to as a “god” and, furthermore, would be somewhat pissed that somebody would refer to me that way. I’m not that arrogant. So what’s with this “zOMG you’re such a goddess” crap?

Anyway, I digress. Just notice how much society rewards people who claim oppression. It’s actually a benefit. People compete and jockey for oppression points, because the more you have, the more attention you get. Pop out a boob, and you get even more. Don’t have a boob? No problem. Call yourself trans – you don’t even have to shave the beard – and now you’re a goddess too. Stunning and brave, of course. Just make sure to tell everybody that Barbara Bush was a horrible racist and deserved to die. Then pop out a non-existent boob, and you’ll be flooded with positive comments.

Of course, if you’re trans and anything but a raging Leftist, expect the Blaire White treatment. You’re no longer stunning and brave, you sexist, transphobic transsexual. The contradictions don’t seem to bother them much.

It’s all mass delusion, but it’s a strange sort of self-reinforcing mass delusion. It’s like a brain virus, and once you have it, obtaining a cure is exceedingly difficult – because you have to realize that you are sick in the first place, something Leftism explicitly tries to avoid. Don’t question the narrative heretic… er… I mean racist. If there is any sort of religious dictatorship threatening to micromanage every facet of our lives, it’s coming from the Left, not the Christian Right. Of course, their dictatorship doesn’t make women wear strange red bonnets, but it does make you sign a consent form to have sex, so there’s that. The boob on Instagram is free, though.

All of this is simple rhetoric. And it all stems from something Francis at Liberty’s Torch said some time ago (I’ll have to dig up the link again later). White Christian men are the last group for whom hatred is celebrated. That, in polite company, you may trash and insult without mercy, and expect to receive accolades for it. The people of the in-crowd can take dumps on a God-fearing farmer of Podunkville, pat each other on the back, and go drool over Instagram girls saying they are going to end the objectification of women by wearing see-thru lingerie on the Internet. It’s easy rhetoric. There’s no social cost to it, and plenty of social benefit.

It is the ease of this rhetoric, the reward for it, that really pushes people into Leftism. Oh, sure, there will always be welfare queens and hardcore Marxists who spout this crap, but the regular Joe is responding to a need to be accepted. The middle manager trying to angle for promotion to the upper tier is saying what he thinks people want him to say. And yes, even the flaky Instagram girl is just responding to what will get her the most likes and comments.

It is the ease of this rhetoric that must be defeated more than the rhetoric itself. Even if a Milo or Ben Shapiro gets in a slick comeback; even if Thomas Sowell comes to the party armed with every economic statistic known to man and has them on immediate tap, it won’t be enough. Such victories are short-lived, and the culture at large goes back to ‘if you want upvotes, talk about Islamophobia!’ Rightists are fighting an enormous cultural current, and are doing so admirably. But it is the current itself that must be changed.

The bikini girl on Instagram should be at least as likely to talk about taxation as theft as she is to take rhetorical dumps on Donald Trump. Only then will the rhetorical battle be on level ground.

Political Children

Well, dealing with a newborn, doing a lot of work, and getting my home fixed up and ready to sell all at the same time is… fun. And by fun, I mean sleep-depriving. But I’m coming up to the end on a lot of my work, which is good. In any event, a lot has happened since I was last blogging here. Of course, my first topic after my hiatus is going to have to be the guns. Specifically, the supposedly spontaneous child protests across the country.

To preface this, I don’t care what a child thinks about political issues any more than I worry about my dog’s opinion of my cooking. This strikes me immediately as similar to the “woke 8 year old” bologna that appeared all over Twitter in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton.

 

This is another manifestation of Weaponized Empathy. “It’s for the children” was a tactic employed by the media during the Syrian refugee crisis, often by showing carefully staged bodies of children, or as in one particular example, showing an injured child in an ambulance. In the latter, the child was dirty and bleeding, but journalists still found time to sit him in the otherwise clean ambulance and take a carefully-considered photo to push their political points.

However, today’s tactic is, perhaps, even more insidious. In this case, Progressives are using the gullibility and lack of experience of children to push for their political goals. One individual of some noteriety, whose name escapes me at the moment (it made the rounds on Twitter, if one of my readers has a name please drop it in the comments), mentioned that children are often wiser than their parents on social and political issues. And they are supposedly less gullible, too. And while Democrats want to raise the age required to purchase a gun, they simultaneously want to lower the voting age. Surely there’s no self-interest in that, right? After all, it’s easier to talk a child into Socialism with a basic “it’s not fair” kind of argument.

Look, the fact is children just don’t understand. That’s why they are children, not little adults. They don’t have the life experience to make such weighty decisions yet. The fact that some of them were talked into protesting (I seriously question the spontaneity of these events) doesn’t mean anything. When I was a child, I once threw a ball of watered down toilet paper at the gym teacher, and the other kids laughed and clapped when it happened. Children do a lot of stupid things.

Woke 8 year olds around the world were trashing Trump, right? Just like mommy told them to. Now students are comparing the NRA to the KKK, just like their parents and/or teachers are doing. And so long as they parrot a Leftist agenda, why not, right? I’m sure if a bunch of 8 year olds started protesting abortion, the Left would tell us how the kids are brainwashed or something. The media spin would go in the opposite direction, because according to the media, Left = good, Right = bad.

Hilariously, as a friend of mine pointed out, the children cannot even maintain a level of consistency (because they are children) in their messaging. Take a look at this hilarious example and see if you can spot the contradiction:

 

I don’t care if a child is singing the praises of Donald Trump or comparing the NRA to the KKK. He’s a child. His political opinions are irrelevant. Anybody attempting to cynically use a child’s ill-formed positions in an effort to sell a political agenda is evil. Such people are using our natural instincts to protect and cherish our children in order to sell a political position. Forget the facts, forget the rights of Englishmen. Forget history, forget economics, forget what actually works and what doesn’t. Instead, the message is this: “do what we say, or else you hate children.”

It’s conceptually no different from “you want to push granny off a cliff.” It’s an emotional argument. Pure rhetoric and a form of Weaponized Empathy.

Yesterday my 3 year old wanted a popsicle for breakfast. Because he’s a child. His opinions on nutrition are irrelevant. And so are the opinions of children on the matter of gun ownership and gun control. They are being used as pawns in someone else’s game. And the idiot who said children are less gullible than adults is a liar.

I mean, what’s next at this point? Here’s a list of some unpleasant truths about Progressives and the cynical manipulation of people:

  1. Leftists like mass-immigration from the third world because they believe such people are more gullible, and thus easier to con into Socialism.
  2. Leftists like child-protests, because children rely on popularity and peer pressure more than adults, and are more gullible, thus easy to con.
  3. Leftists want to lower the voting age because the younger you are, figures the Leftist, the easier it is to con you into voting their way.
  4. The lower your economic class, the Leftist figures, the cheaper it is to bribe you into voting their way.

And so on and so forth, ad nauseam.

Everything they do is about more Socialism. And they don’t care what lever they use to move you out of the way of Progress ™. Sad stories about third world refugees failed to move you? Okay, bring out some pictures of dead kids. That didn’t work? Con their own kids into some kind of twisted version of the Children’s Crusade and get them protesting in the street. That didn’t work? How about some woke 8 year olds on Twitter? How about some peer pressure? How about threatening your income?

You have to understand, with these people, the means doesn’t matter. Only the end matters, and the end, as they see it, is Socialism.

This lever failed to move me. It was, in fact, one of the dumbest Weaponized Empathy tactics I’ve seen them deploy in recent days. If we listened to children, everybody would be eating junk food, watching TV, posting on social media, and playing video games basically 24/7.

But what do I know, right? Listen to some 10 year old who was talked into protesting by his teacher saying he could get out of class early. Because that clearly makes sense, right?

Rumors of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Well, I suppose I owe my readers an explanation for my hiatus these last couple of weeks. Between my daughter keeping me up all night, lack of sleep, heavy workload, a short story project I’m wrapping up, and a remodeling project I probably should have waited to do – but didn’t – yeah, my blogging has suffered somewhat of late.

On top of that, Bitcoin’s big moves have occupied much of my attention recently. I mined a few of them back in 2013, and suddenly they were more than just some paltry pocket change. For what it’s worth, I dumped most of them at around $11,000/BTC. Probably should’ve dumped at the high, but that’s always a hindsight game. Most of the profits are going right into the mortgage balance. Not enough to eradicate it completely, but it certainly took out a big chunk.

I have a tendency to take on too much, and I have a hard time saying no to opportunities. Usually this serves me well, sometimes it bites me in the ass.

In any event, I’ve accumulated a lot of topics I wish to discuss over the next few days. And I may be bringing in a couple of guest bloggers in the near future as well. Long-time reader TripleSphincteredWombat made that suggestion, and I have few folks who have been asking me about it recently.

So in summary, I’m not dead. Rather, I’m just wishing I could get more than 3 or 4 hours of sleep a night.

All Your Base Still Belong to Us

Just shy of a year ago, in cooperation with Tom Kratman and a few others, I put together this bit of memetic homage:

Francis Porretto reminded me of it in a comment this morning. It’s crazy to think that it’s been nearly a year since Trump took office. It has been a year of triggered SJWs, helicopter memes, and media self destruction. The hatred for Donald J. Trump is beyond anything I’ve seen directed at a political figure in my lifetime. Not even Richard “Tricky Dick” Nixon engendered such vitriolic hate.

This, naturally, is all coming from the peace-love-tolerance crowd. Peace-love-tolerance, of course, only applies to political conformists, Overton Window adherents, and proper Socialists. The level of cognitive dissonance demonstrated by the political Left is staggering to witness.

Trump is supposed to be an evil reincarnated Hitler, or something like that. And yet his daughter and grandchildren are Jewish. And, furthermore, he has done something no President has dared to do: called for the move of the American embassy to Jerusalem. Trump was widely hailed as the harbinger of economic apocalypse. Trickle down won’t work, they said. As a businessman he his a bankrupted failure, they claimed. And yet the economic growth of the last year hasn’t been seen since, perhaps, the Reagan administration. They said he wouldn’t last a year before impeachment or resignation, and yet here we are.

The reason for all this is simple. Trump is blunt and open about his beliefs, occasionally to a fault, something that drives the politically correct into conniption fits. With the politically correct Overton Window adherents, all language must be monitored for proper tone, current “in fashion” political jargon, and otherwise. They aren’t illegal aliens, they are undocumented immigrants. They aren’t stupid, they are intellectually challenged. Whatever. In some cases the meanings of PC jargon shift so fast, it is difficult to keep up with them. Cisgender is a great example. Until a couple years ago, I’d never even heard of such a term. Now it’s ubiquitous on social media, added to such SJW jargon as white cisheteropatriarchy.

Trump, meanwhile, calls Haiti a “shithole” and garners a media shitstorm for it. What of it? Haiti is a shithole. Perhaps he was somewhat vulgar and less than presidential in his delivery, but here’s the important question: is he wrong? To the politically correct, appearances matter more than substance. They don’t want to call Haiti a shithole, regardless of the fact that it is one. They say racism, but how can something be racist if it is true? Must we embrace “non-racist” lies in favor of “racist” truth? To the politically correct, that answer is obvious.

Donald Trump has done us one great service, above all other things: he has exposed the politically correct as dishonest, superficial, egotistical liars. #AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs indeed. We have witnessed a year of collective PC meltdown. I don’t know that it is enough to reverse course in America, much less the rest of the world. I remain pessimistic on our long-term future. And we still need that border wall Trump promised us. The illegals must go back. Our immigration system must be radically overhauled. At this point, I’m not sure we’re going to get that.

But in the short term, the PC meltdown has been epic to witness. It’s a thing I never thought I’d see. If, a few years ago, you had told me Donald Trump would run for office, get elected in one of the greatest upsets in political history, and bring journalists to tears on live TV, I’d have laughed in your face.

All Your Base Are Belong to Us.

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